The school newspaper of Oakville High School


The school newspaper of Oakville High School


The school newspaper of Oakville High School


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New ‘SEL Coach’ helps students deal with anxiety
Signs hang outside of Ms. Bywater’s room. “We go over the five castle competencies of self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making,” Bywater said. Bywater helps about 25 students weekly since she was hired this January.

Rising anxiety rates have affected students around the country, especially with social media and technology being heavily used by Generation Z. Oakville High School decided to do something to support any student who needs help with stress or emotional support. 

Enter Eden Bywater, who was hired in January as a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Coach, a new position for the school.

“…If a student struggles with stress or anxiety, I would help them develop effective coping skills to deal with that anxiety,” Bywater said, “so we might do breathing exercises, we might learn yoga, we might learn how to manage time better, develop goals and the process of setting goals.”

Bywater works for CHADS coalition, a St. Louis-based organization focusing on suicide prevention, family support and social emotional wellbeing. She has been with CHADS since October, but has past experience with emotional support with her education and working for other schools.

“My bachelor’s degree is in human development in family settings, so I have a lot of psychology, sociology, development classes and adolescent development,” Bywater said. “…My position before this was actually an executive functioning teacher at Lindbergh High School.”

The responsibilities of an executive functioning teacher are similar to those of an SEL Coach, as both deal with stressors and ways to decrease stress. Having this position at school is important, especially for high schoolers.

“I think a lot of times many students do not know how to manage their emotions. They do not understand how to cope with anxiety and stress,” Bywater said, “and teenagers deal with a lot of stress factors, even more so I feel like nowadays than when I was in high school.”


Bywater’s room, located in the corner by the FACS hallway. “If you guys ever need to come see me, I am always available my door is always open…” Bywater said. Bywater also mentioned that students can always stop by and say hi.


But Bywater is involved with more than just stress and emotion management.

“I mentor back to back to back with students and usually we do 30-40 minute sessions. I’m also helping co-lead a freshman friends group,” Bywater said. “…It’s a game-based discussion group that focuses on developing meaningful friendships. We help them learn emotional coping, verbal and nonverbal communication, building empathy, conflict resolution…”

Bywater has a connection to her work because of her experience in life.

“I’m very passionate about [this job] because I personally have dealt with some things in my own life, such as stress, anxiety [and] emotional regulation,” Bywater said. “I wish I had somebody when I was a teenager to help me with these things…I want [other kids] to be successful in this area, to know how to deal with their emotions and embrace that it is okay to have all these emotions, but how do I manage it in my life.”

Bywater hopes that the goals of SEL may prove to be very helpful to the students who need help in Oakville.

“We want to make sure that we are giving you the tools to be a positive, effective adult when you are older,” Bywater said, “and know how to deal with different interactions with people, communicate effectively and have the self confidence that you need to go and be the people that you’re meant to be.”

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About the Contributor
Sawyer Bess
Sawyer Bess, Reporter
Hello, I'm Sawyer Bess, and it's my first year on the newspaper staff. This is also my third year in the broadcast program. I am a senior at OHS, and other programs I am involved in include Youth and Government, golf and I'm our school's mascot. After I graduate high school, I plan to enjoy my summer and then attend college, majoring in journalism at Mizzou.

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